Damon Runyon Researchers

Meet Our Scientists
Heidi E. Klumpe, PhD

Cells living in aggregates can perform more complex tasks than individual cells, but they also face key challenges as they have less access to space and nutrients. Tumors, like the healthy tissues they disrupt, must balance these physical forces and effectively distribute metabolites to continue to grow. Dr. Klumpe [Merck Fellow] will use yeast as a simplified model of cell aggregation to engineer diverse aggregates and observe their growth and maintenance over many generations. Understanding how certain properties of an aggregate affect its long-term stability can shed light on "design principles" that underlie the persistence of tumors, as well as what stabilizes other multicellular structures, such as healthy tissue and biomaterials. Dr. Klumpe received her PhD from the California Institute of Technology and her BS/BA from North Carolina State University.

Project title: "The design principles of stable aggregation"
Institution: Boston University
Named Award: Merck Fellow
Award Program: Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Ahmad S. Khalil, PhD, and Mary Dunlop, PhD
Cancer Type: All Cancers
Research Area: Systems Biology